Exploring Space Through the Library

Humans big and small have long been fascinated with space. Though most of us won't have the chance to travel beyond the horizons of planet Earth in our lifetimes, it is fun to imagine what it would be like to witness it all from above, surrounded by stars and planets. Fortunately, there are many space resources available and accessible for the whole family through the library.

Most conversations on the subject of space will at some time mention NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA's website has clear and detailed images, videos, live cameras, and information about everything space-related. Also if you couldn't catch the Super Blue Blood Moon on January 31, there are some great images and a time-lapse video of it on NASA's website.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly 

And speaking of NASA, Hidden Figures is the story of the women mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s who helped send the first man to orbit the Earth. Some younger readers may find this book a bit dense, but the good news is that there is also a Young Reader's Edition and an easy picture book version as well. If you haven't seen it, the film version of Hidden Figures is excellent too.

Astronaut Ellen Ochoa by Heather E. Schwartz

Along with the amazing women of NASA, there are many awesome trailblazing women astronauts. Valentina Tereshkova (first woman in space), Sally Ride (first American woman in space), Yi So-yeon (first Korean in space), and Dr. Mae C. Jemison (first black woman in space), among many others. Ellen Ochoa was the first female Hispanic astronaut. This book, Astronaut Ellen Ochoa is part of the STEM Trailblazers Bio series, which recognizes people in science who broke barriers in their field.

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

Based on the first black woman in space Dr. Mae Jemison as a little girl, in Mae Among the Stars little Mae dreams of flying to space even though her teacher says she would be better as a nurse. Mae reminds us all to follow our dreams, no matter what anyone else says.

Space Explorers by Giulia De Amicis
Space Explorers is a book of space facts enhanced with colorful and engaging illustrations of planets, comets, and even what it would be like to live on the International Space Station.

Searching for Alien Life by Todd Kortemeier
Whether you believe the existence of life on other planets or not, this book discusses the history of exploration on this issue as well as some interesting recent breakthroughs in the research in a very approachable way.

Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly
Written by real-life astronaut Mark Kelly, a little mouse named Mike works to help a mission's astronauts. Super cute for little ones interested in space and astronauts. Kelly also writes a companion book in which little mouse Mike goes to Mars!

Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg
A classic story about two brothers who play a board game called Zathura that is actually a portal to space.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
While not exactly a book strictly about space, this classic story about a boy who travels between planets is one of adventure and a wish to see things beyond and beneath the surface. 

King County Library System (KCLS) online resource Access Video also has some excellent informational videos on the subject of space. You can limit these by grade level and language as well. And while you're at it, be sure to check out the award-winning Kerbal Space programs at select KCLS libraries. Visit the KCLS event page and search Kerbal Space for more information.

Do you have a favorite space book or resource? Add it to the comments!

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